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Dinner honors Boyle's legacy

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Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

JoAnne Boyle's legacy as the president of Seton Hill University who transformed the Greensburg college on the hill into a coed university that could spur economic development in the city and region was honored Monday by community and government leaders, as well as her colleagues.

“We will work very hard to honor her legacy. She was always looking for the next challenge. She was always looking to move us forward .. to ensure that Greensburg remains a vibrant place to live, to work and visit,” Michelle Ridge, chair of the Seton Hill board of trustees, told more than 275 people who gathered for the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland's annual dinner.

Boyle, 78, who died Nov. 1, had served as Seton Hill's president from 1987 to June 2013, when she formally resigned. She was honored by the Economic Growth Connection, of which she had been a board member for about a decade.

Speaking at the Ramada Inn in Hempfield, Ridge said that the university's partnership with Greensburg, which led to the expansion into downtown Greensburg, helped to instill economic vitality in the county seat, as well as the region.

The construction of the performing arts center across from the renovated train station in Greensburg was the first big step. Seton Hill's employment ranks have grown by 100 over the past decade, Ridge said.

The building of a visual arts center at the intersection of West Otterman and College Avenue “will serve as yet another economic generator,” Ridge said.

“Seton Hill has helped to create a new era of prosperity for Greensburg and re-energized an aging urban area,” Ridge said.

The private and public partnership between the university and state and local governments, as well as private investment, has an economic value conservatively estimated at $130 million, Ridge said.

As geographic expansion continued, Seton Hill's enrollment has grown from 800 as an all-women's college to more than 2,100 as a coed institution, Ridge said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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